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A '''cannon''' is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word ''cannon'' is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as ''tube'', ''cane'', or ''reed''. In the modern era, the term ''cannon'' has fallen into decline, replaced by "guns" or "artillery" if not a more specific term such as "mortar" or "howitzer", except for in the field of aerial warfare, where it is often used as shorthand for autocannon. Technology of the Song Dynasty#Gunpowder warfare|First invented in China, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engines—among other forms...
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